It is pretty common to hear people say that the Bible can’t be divinely inspired or the word of God because there are too many contradictions and nobody can agree on its meaning. How can God be real if we can’t agree on what God is like and there are so many Christian denominations all supposedly referring to the same book but disagreeing with each other? It must prove that God is a phoney and didn’t make us all or we’d agree.
My contention is that this is the exact reason why the only logical conclusion is that the Bible must be divinely inspired and cannot be the works of ordinary people, particularly at the time it was written without any means for collaboration.
To try and demonstrate my point try to think of what you consider the greatest book ever written. It might be the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, or it might be Lord of the Rings, or it might be Moby Dick, or a work by Shakespeare. I’ll pick Moby Dick simply because it is a classic but is also difficult to read. Even this classic has maybe 5 ways for it to be read. It could just be a good story about the high seas, or may be a good story with some lessons in it, or it could be about one man’s journey with his mind, or as some say it could be about one man’s struggle with his spirituality and ultimate success over his own ego. I’ve said five because there might be another way I can’t think of.
Most books have one or two ways it can be interpreted or three at best. I think that’s why Moby Dick is a classic and has stood the test of time over all these years; it has so many layers of complexity.
Now the Bible doesn’t have 5 ways to be interpreted and not even 50 ways to be interpreted but has countless ways it can be interpreted and each way seems to be so convincing that it is often used as proof to show how the other ways can’t possibly be right. Here are some examples I can think of right now – I’m sure you could add some, and I’m not even going to get into the nitty gritty over particular issues such as homosexuality or sex before marriage or eating shellfish.
- There are so many contradictions in the Bible (one web site lists over 100) that it can’t possibly be right so the Bible is proof that God can’t exist.
- There are so many prophecies in the Bible (one web site lists hundreds) and all have been proven to have come true so it must be the work of God.
- The Bible is to be taken literally.
- The Bible is written in parables to be read with the understanding of the reader.
- God should have made it clear so that anybody could read it and understand it.
- The Bible is easy to read and understand.
- The Bible can only be understood with guidance from the Holy Spirit.
- It is historical fact.
- It is a good story and nothing more and may be loosely “based” on fact but is not factual in any sense of the word.
- It is not divine but has some good rules that can be applied to your life.
- The Bible is encrypted with mathematical code to reveal its true meaning.
- It is the Word of God.
- It has been through so many translations you can’t trust the words.
- The meaning is what is important.
- God is loving and merciful.
- God is a psychopathic murderer that demands loyalty or he’ll condemn you for eternity.
- The Bible is a rule book with clear instructions on how to live your life.
- The Bible is a metaphysical guide to deeper understanding.
That’s just a short list and I can understand why any one person has any one particular point of view but how is it logically possible that people have those incredibly different and contradictory views about the one book and each thinks they are right?
It isn’t logically possible at all and it doesn’t happen with any other book. Sure, there are disagreements over personal preferences and likes but not fundamental disagreements over content and meaning.
In my opinion, the Bible is a map of humanity as it is now and as it has been through history and at various stages of maturity for the individual, and also as it is and as it could be. When you look at that map you can recognise features that are familiar to you, and that’s how you derive your “meaning” of its words. That is why people are so adamant that what they see is what is there – the map shows them what they recognise and because they recognise what’s already there it is true for them. How else can you explain so many different meanings for so many people unless they are all there within the words, waiting to be revealed by the individual reader?
How could people thousands of years ago and with no real way of collaboration have devised such an utterly clever and simple way to reveal humanity to itself with all of its complexity, contradictions, beauty and also conflicts?
I can only conclude that it was inspired.
What do you think?